Erykah Badu, A$AP Rocky & Raury Dominate The Roots Picnic (Photos)

Photo Credit: Jake Katznelson

Photo Credit: Jake Katznelson

Where to begin?

Shall I start by raving about Erykah Badu’s AMAZING set alongside The Roots? Or should I start by delving into one of the openers, Moses Sumney who—by the way—totally gained my heart’s eternal fanship.

Wait. Or should I talk about Raury’s energetic and rauring (no pun) set? Because, after all, my body deemed it a favorite after smoothly falling into a trance while he performed his infamous “Cigarette Song,” “Fly,” and an unreleased, untitled track. As the kids these days say—it was pretty lit, but let’s back track a bit. You all deserve to a fair tale, from the beginning.

It was noon. The sun was out, and so were the guns (not the metal kind).

The finesse began early.  Not only was I at the Roots Picnic on time, but I’d discovered an alternate line that gained me entrance a lot quicker than some of the people in front of me. The summer festival gods were on my side. Note: There’s always a better way, and lines are for suckers.

At 12:32 p.m. Marc E. Bassy was taking the Harbor Stage by the neck and ringing it. Was that gruesome? What I meant to say was, he did a great job and you should probably give him listen.

Following Marc E.’s set, curiousity led me over to the Pier Stage where Moses Sumney stole my ears for the next thirty minutes. Meanwhile, Bishop Nehru was getting ready to take the Harbor Stage. As a fan of a young cat who can spit, I had to pay my respect and go rock out with him. To say the least, it was awesome. Vibes everywhere—the good kind.

Photo Credit: Ed Newton

Photo Credit: Ed Newton

Back at the Pier Stage was Rae Sremmurd. How could I miss that? As if it were even an option.

It. Was. Turnt. All the way. All types. Turn down for what? I’ll wait…

Weaving through the crowd started to become an art. I found myself back near the Harbor Stage catching Hiatus Kaiyote—and if you haven’t given Choose Your Weapon a listen, you’re BUGGING. Stop reading and do it now, but make sure you come back and finish what you started.

Things got tricky when Raury and Afrika Bambaataa began performing…at the same, damn, time on opposite stages. What was a girl to do? Feel the music. That’s what. I let my body guide me and found myself catching both sets. Halfsies. I win. Note 2.0: Always keep the lineup on hand. Never lose it. Always have a preferance and a plan. Never expect to catch them all. The Roots Picnic is not a game of Pokémon.

By now, the scorching heat began to taint my skin, which I was in no way mad at. The six dollar bottles of water, however, remain a different story.

It was time to take a break from crowd bobbing and weaving. The sandy floor and I became good friends as my ears enjoyed the different genres of music playing in the background, and my eyes rested. Did I just admit to laying out and tanning at the Roots Picnic?

Photo Credit: Dan Sozanski

Photo Credit: Dan Sozanski


I found myself back at the Pier Stage during A$AP Rocky’s short, but satisfying set. He blessed us with new and old cuts. Who could be mad at that?

The Weeknd was next. GAHHHHHH.

And then…

Can I get a drumroll please?

Photo Credit: Dan Sozanski

Photo Credit: Dan Sozanski

The Roots, Erykah Badu…wait for it…joined by Freeway, YG, and The Lox. I cannot make this stuff up.

The Roots delivered the same vivid energy they bring year after year. Hit after hit. No complaints. Ms. Badu additionally brought a skateboard-like device. She gracefully slid from right to left and back in between her verses. Only Badu.

An encore followed, and then another one—this time by The Weeknd, blessing us with his 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack “Earned It.”

And then…that was it, but rest assured it was not easy. Twelve hours of festival living is glorious, but hardly glamourous. The repercussions? Two and a half zits on my face from the overbearing heat, my favorite blush, and whatever accumulated oils my face harbored.

More photos on the next page.